February 10, 2010 Subject:
TEN MINUTES ARE MISSING FROM THIS PRINT, AND INCLUDED IN THE MISSING FOOTAGE IS THE MOVIE'S FUNNIEST SCENE!! THE FOLLOWING REVIEW IS FOR THE COMPLETE FILM, WHICH IS AVAILABLE ON AN ALPHA VIDEO DVD.) This is an uneven bantam-weight comedy that stars Hollywood's biggest mouth, Joe E. Brown, and the petite Helen Mack, supported by journeyman actor Paul Kelly. The outstanding character actor Harry Davenport appears in a minor role. There are some funny lines, and quite a few unfunny ones. However, two extended scenes turn this amusing 2 ½ star film into a genuine 4 star comedy - the ship's brig and the disintegrating hay wagon. Both are unsung slapstick masterpieces and flat-out hilarious. Joe E. Brown is fun as a whacko cub reporter, and Helen Mack is appealing as a reluctant princess. The pacing is breakneck and the production values are good. All tolled, this extroverted romp is easy to recommend. CAST NOTE: Starting out as a child star, Helen Mack (a.k.a Macks) had a diverse, on-again, off-again, film career. What is so unusual is how her talent seemed to differ greatly from role to role. She's cute but sub-par in "Son of Kong," okay in this film and acceptable without being outstanding in "She." Ms Mack also does okay in "Wrong Road." All in all, not a very distinguished career. Then, out of the blue, she turned in extremely powerful dramatic performances in "His Girl Friday" (in a supporting role), and in "Girls of the Road," a Depression drama that I hope will escape from TCM someday.